About Us

“Mapping the Global Midwest: Histories of Space and Place in the Upper Mississippi Watershed” is a multi-phase project to develop a user-friendly digital platform and portal for four streams of knowledge and enquiry: cartographic confluences; international contacts and networks; religions, lifeways, and missionary encounters; and environmental engagements.

The Upper Mississippi Watershed, and surrounding territory, was the site of early European exploration and interaction between Europeans (fur traders, missionaries, explorers, soldiers) and the indigenous peoples of the region. These interactions affected how the region was later mapped and viewed cartographically by Europeans and colonists, which influenced military operations, missionary expeditions, and early commercial enterprises and settlement. Throughout its history, the waterways of the region have connected people and ideas, and influenced ways of life. 

The “Mapping the Global Midwest” digital platform will serve as a single, comprehensive entry point to the study of the Upper Mississippi River watershed and its history, with the capability of linking to other regions, platforms and projects. This project brings together scholars and instructors at all levels, library professionals, and students from a wide range of disciplines to explore the past, present and future of the Upper Mississippi Watershed and, indeed, the entire Mississippi River and its environs.

This is a project of the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World at the University of Minnesota. Project lead: Dr. Marguerite Ragnow, Director, CSPW Digital Research Workshop; and Curator, James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota